For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Valentine Pecks of the Week

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, February 14th, 2014

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What’s up, you loveless fucks? As the year rolls along, so do the new releases — finally, it seems. Here’s my anti-Valentine’s Day rant.

Gridlink release Longhena, and this thing is a pecking barn-burner.  Their longest effort to date, this record moves, kicks, and boy does it grind. There is a lot of non-traditional grind on here, hailing back to Jon Chang’s previous band, Discordance Axis, without sounding like DA at all. There are blast beats and screams (of course), and is that a violin I hear? This slab is downright beautiful and heartbreaking at times, without sacrificing any ferocity or coming across as some wimpy loner sitting in his bedroom making metal that’s not metal. I might add that this will be their last release, and they go out with a bang, seemingly gasping for air at the end. This thing rips, and is my candidate for best record of the year so far. It’s pretty early for that, but this thing is great. Do yourself a favor and check it out. 9 Fucking Pecks.

Ah, Cynic. People will stand by you, people will debate you. This parrot, however, will not perch by you. C’mon, guys, give me a break. Really. We KNOW you can play, we KNOW you love the vocoder, we KNOW you’re all pretty much over metal, but when your core audience is mostly into extreme music, shouldn’t you try to incorporate SOME of that? Or at least change your band name? This should come as no surprise to fans of this band, and they haven’t deviated from their overall recent sound. Maybe this is a progressive masterpiece that this birdbrain doesn‘t just understand, and I do have to admit the drumming is impeccable here, but this record has the teeth of an infant, and is about as warm as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s corpse.  I’m not being a super hating parrot here, but this is just not for me. This sounds at times like Sunny Day Real Estate, and well, that’s just not perch-worthy. Many will defend the peck out of this, and I’m not saying it’s totally worthless, but this is not metal or extreme in the least. So, you know, dust off your old Get Up Kids records or go buy this. Whatever, I’ll still make fun of you… 3 Fucking Pecks.

OK, I’m reviewing this based off the name of the band alone (see, IT DOES MATTER). Spewilator are releasing Goathrower on Boris. I’m not really sure what to make of this. There’s a lot of galloping riffs a la trad metal, some black metal-ish type beats, some throaty vocals, and some guttural vocals. There’s odd harmonic riffs, which is a real beak-scratcher for a band described as “deathgrind.” This seems like a bunch of guys (three, to be exact) that kinda throw in all of their influences and try to rock. They pull it off, but I guarantee that this is a better band to listen to in a warehouse with a warm canned beer in your hand. I’m torn on this. Ah, peck it, it’s cool. I mean they do have a song called “Let’s Get Drugs,” which is cool. So, fire up the bong, pull a cold one out of the fridge and rock out to this. Definitely more fun after a second listen. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Flotsam and Jetsam release No Place for Disgrace 2014. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t be what I think this is going to be. Ahhh fuck, it is. Fuck this right in its fucking ass. Go get the original NPFD. This isn’t just remastered; it’s re recorded. NO THANKS. 1 Fucking Peck

Talking Good Beers and Grindcore with Bill Yurkiewicz

By: adem Posted in: featured, interviews, liver failure On: Friday, February 14th, 2014

Bill with beer and two thumbs

Long before there was a Brewtal Truth column in Decibel or Municipal Waste was celebrating the Art of Partying or Three Floyds was making beers for its favorite metal bands, Bill Yurkiewicz and his grindcore band, Exit-13, were not only drinking amazing beers from around the world, they were writing songs about them. Yurkiewicz, who co-founded Relapse Records in the early ’90s, was mixing extreme beers and extreme metal back when craft beers were still called “microbrews.” His passion for good beer and desire to spread the craft beer gospel is legendary. Just ask ex-Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris who was recently on the receiving end of a beery care package of Dogfish Head brews. Or Dave Witte, who points to Yurkiewicz as the source of his own craft beer obsession. Naturally, we had to get the lowdown.

You were singing the praises of strong Belgian brews back in the mid-’90s in Exit-13 when every other metalhead was still shotgunning mass quantities of cheap beer. How did you discover these beers?
I hung out with folks a bit older than me during college (1985–1990) and we always bought cases of beer that we had never tried. Stuff like Grizzly and Calgary from Canada; Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale from the U.K.; Innsbruck from Austria; D.A.B. and Steinhauser Lager from Germany; Kronenbourg from France; Royal Brand from the Netherlands. One evening I went with some friends to a now sadly defunct restaurant named Whatney’s Pub in Brickerville, Pennsylvania, that specialized in world-class beers. It was the first place I ever saw a “Beers of the World” Tasting Club. I had a bottle of St. Sixtus 12 Abbey Ale (now called St. Bernardus 12 and reported to be the very same recipe as my beloved Westvleteren Abt 12) and the rest is history. It was by far the best tasting beer I had ever tasted, and I truly loved the crazy looking drunk monk on the label! After that, I started buying books on beer and was quickly introduced to the writings of Michael Jackson. I realized that I greatly preferred ale to lager and just started trying to track down all the beers I was reading about. Back then it was so much harder to find the world-class stuff as I was not part of any network of beer freaks and most of the distributors in my area did not cater to people looking for the really high end stuff.

How much of Exit-13’s recorded output was directly or indirectly influenced by good beer?
We never practiced or recorded a single note of music sober. Ever! Beer was always a part of rehearsals and live shows. When it came to recording, we probably spent more on the grog than on the studio time, up to the Ethos Musick sessions. The early days of Exit-13 were just a blur of four freaks getting baked and drunk and totally enjoying life to the fullest! Some of the later material was directly influenced by craft beer as the lyrics were written about humulus lupulus (hops) and the Belgian ales that I had tried up to that point. “Gout d’Belgium” was my ode to the joys of Belgian beer, as influenced by the writings of Lord Jackson.

“Gout d’Belgium”
Orval, Duvel, Corsendonk
Scaldis, Chimay, Rodenbach
Westmalle Triple, Golden Carolus
Belgian Alcoholocaust!!!

Get startin’ with Hoegaarden!
I’m flask whacked on Pauwel Kwak!

I’ve raised many a glass with St. Sixtus
And deviled my brain with Duvel
My mind is as high as the heavens,
But my liver is burning in Hell!!!

Bellvue, Boon Gueuze, Timmermans
DeTroch, Leifmans, Lindemans
Rose de Gambrinus by Cantillion
Belgian Alcoholocaust!!!

Go get say, geuze or peche!
On framboise or kreik, get lambiclly geeked!

Sixtus, Leffe, Affligem
Witkap Pater, Grimbergen
Tunic frocked and drunk again!
Belgian Alcoholocaust!!!

The Abbey ales just don’t fail!
Several triples will leave you crippled!!!

Belgium is literally heaven on Earth for the beer aficionado!
No other country can boast of more distinct, individualistic styles,
So rich and complex in character. Whether it’s the unique lambics
Or the top fermenting, bottle conditioned strong ales,
Belgium’s beers deserve the most sincere reverence!
“This is drink most sensuous”

Brigand, Steendonk, Mort Subite
Saison Dupont, Oerbier
Petrus Triple, De Verboden Vrucht
Belgian Alcoholocaust!!!

Chimay Blue will slay you!
Liquid grail… Satan Ale!!!

Orvel, Duvel, Corsendonk
Scaldis, Chimay, Rodenbach
Tunic frocked and drunk again
Belgian Alcoholocaust!!!

I’m the Stille Nacht snowman
And I’m drowning in Scaldis Noel!
My mind is as high as the heavens,
But my liver still burns in Hell!!!

Were any of your Exit-13 bandmates receptive to trying the beers you were drinking at the time? Which ones?
Yes, everyone in Exit-13 was into good beer! Just as much as I was, although they did not study it per se, as I did. It was a very equal thing with each of us trying to find the best stuff to drink. There are some good pictures of us circa summer 1990 all enjoying those large steel cans of Thomas Cooper Real Ale from Australia. Oranjeboom from the Netherlands was another band favorite. Our original bassist Joel DiPietro ended up in Colorado working at the Wynkoop Brewery for a spell. Of course, the later days of Exit-13 were fueled with lots of Belgian ales and German hefeweizen, although Danny Lilker always loved his 16 oz. cans of Budweiser! Dave Witte says having a De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht at the recording session for the split 7″ EP with Hemdale sent him on a lifelong journey of beer appreciation.

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Relapse put out the Spectrum Ale promo sampler CD back when craft beer was still called “microbrews.” What do you think about bands like Mastodon, Municipal Waste and Pig Destroyer having their own beers now?
I am almost in disbelief and quite happy for these guys. How far things have progressed! I’ve yet to try any of these band beers and am quite curious about them. I love Three Floyds Alpha King IPA and Robert The Bruce, so I know what they brew must be fantastic. I wish Avery would make a 13% ABV Exit-13 High Hops Indica Pale Ale with fresh cannabis!

Do you see any parallels between turning on friends to craft beers and turning on friends to cool bands back in the pre-Internet days?
To me it is the exact same thing. Turning on others to things they have not yet experienced is one of the greatest endeavors of life. I just wish the U.S. Postal Service rates were not so expensive these days. It costs me $65+ to send a couple of bottles of broth to the U.K.

You obviously love Belgian beers, but what else is currently in your beer rotation?
Over the last six of months I have been imbibing these: Lavery Imperial French-Style Ale, Lavery Devil Bird Porter aged in Maker’s Mark casks, Uinta Cockeyed Cooper Bourbon Barley Wine, Uinta Birthday Suit Sour Brown Ale, Uinta Hop Notch IPA, Green Flash West Coast IPA, North Coast Brother Thelonious Belgian-Style Ale, Sixpoint Resin DIPA, Sixpoint Hi-Res DIPA, Stone Drink By 2/14/14, Stone/Stochasity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA, Orkney Skull Splitter, Avery The Beast Grand Cru, Avery The Reverend Quad, Avery The Czar Imperial Stout, Malheur 12 from Belgium, Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout, Weyerbacher Insanity, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Brown Ale, Dogfish Head Burton Baton DIPA, Dogfish Head Olde School Barley Wine and Bells Two Hearted Ale. Having read your book several times already, I am dying to try the Cascade Sang Noir, Duclaw Colossus and the Midnight Sun Arctic Devil.

“Hopped Up”
Morning, noon and at night
temptations I can’t fight
hoist pints, imbibe, delight…

so sly, that guy, he’s dried… DRY HOPPED! that sly Hopduvel
he plys in guise so wise… CANNABIS?!? evil Hopduvel!
today mugs raised in praise… HOPPED UP! for the Hopduvel
bongs blazed, eyes glazed, way dazed… PROPPED UP! confound the Hopduvel

Nick’s brews, a few, your stewed… HOP SUCKED! by the Hopduvel
with shrooms, you vroom, mind blooms… DROP OUT! Leary as Hopduvel
more trays, mugs raised, your saved! HOPPED UP! by the Hopduvel
bowls blazed, eyes hazed, mind phased… PROPPED UP! stonehead Hopduvel

Revived for a bout of wicked liquid clouts form lambics, weizens, stouts
ein stein in my grip, nectar raised to lips, a joyous sin each sip!
malted incantations fortell my vexation, fiendish inebriation

some more? of course, we pour… POUR MORE! says the Hopduvel
adore and soar, hit the floor! KNOCKED OUT! by the Hopduvel
bongs blazed, amazed, half crazed… HOPPED UP! for the Hopduvel
four days a haze of praise! HOPPED UP! my God Duvel!!!

Get HOPPED UP!

Adem Tepedelen’s new craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.

A389 Hardcore Headmaster Dom Romeo Interviewed

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, February 14th, 2014

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Last month, Decibel spent a few chilly Baltimore days taking in A389′s 10th Anniversary Bash.  That exceptional label has been responsible for lots of great releases, including #9 on our list of 2013′s best, Noisem’s Agony Defined.  The 4-show festival that celebrated the label and its friends was overwhelming in the number of bands that played, the aggression that was exercised, and the volume and quality of the various acts.

Head of label Dom Romeo was over-the-top enthusiastic about the event, and here’s what he had to say about the planning and execution of one of Baltimore’s great 2014 events.

From the outside, the whole weekend seemed to go off perfectly.  Was there any last minute behind-the-scenes work that was necessary to make it all seem easy?

Thanks for the compliment, every year it’s just endless months of planning.  Phone calls on my lunch break at work, hiding from my wife/kids with my laptop in the bathroom.  My wife hates me between October and January when things really get down to the wire, as I’m not a very fun person to be around.

Biggest obstacle was 3000 records showing up before doors Friday that needed to be partially assembled for the bands that were playing.  Luckily I had a great crew of people that were able to come in and help (the dudes from Noisem, their parents and friends).

Once you get to the top of the hill and it’s time to roll, it’s like getting on one of those ‘Krazy Karpets’ I used to get as a kid from Zellers…(maybe it’s a Canadian thing)….  Hang on tight, let it rip and hope you don’t hit a tree on your way down.

How was the process different between booking A389 bands and non-A389 bands?  Any particular difficulties lining up everything necessary to get all the bands to Baltimore and on the stage?

No difference really.  This year the only non-a389 bands were Infest, Power Trip and All Out War all of which are bands I’m already friends with and enjoy musically and as people.  The recipe for the fest has always been the best A389 bands with a few personal favorites dropped in the mix (past years have had DropDead, Lack Of Interest, Despise You etc)  Disclaimer: If any of them wanted to do a record I would in a heartbeat.

But yeah, I’m just a fan of all the bands regardless of label.  I’m not some promoter trying to book bands based on whether or not they will draw huge crowds and make me a pile of money. It’s just an extension of the label’s approach that the band has to be a personal favorite of mine, or people I enjoy being around.

The best part of the bash is that every January around the week of my birthday all of my friends I’ve met over the years around the world are in the same place at the same time for a weekend.  The fest is a great reason for everyone to get together and watch amazing bands.

It was a little challenging getting INTEGRITY to play with the Systems Overload lineup.  It’s something I’ve been working on for almost a decade.  Inching them closer….2014 was the right time I guess.  Same with BLOODLET I work with Scott on his other band JUNIOR BRUCE’s records and constantly harass him as I grew up idolizing his band.   Once both groups of people caved to my outrageous demands it was seriously magical.  Not only from the perspective of seeing these musicians play together again, but to see people who haven’t hung out/been friends in years genuinely enjoy spending time together was a nice touch.

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Did you have particular goals for the line up of any particular night (diversity of bands, length of sets, geographic considerations, etc)?

Only goal really is to make a show that runs with no weak spots.  Hopefully older dudes discover younger bands that rule and the younger dudes fall in love with the older bands.  Respect for the past and respect for the future.

Did you make all the arrangements and handle all the details, or does a place like the Soundstage take on any of the work?

Soundstage provided the venue rental and security.  I was really nervous on Friday just because I’m used to working at venues like Sonar, Sidebar and Ottobar where I’ve hung out/performed or even worked at for years.  I didn’t know anything about Baltimore Soundstage other than last year’s MDF hardcore shows happening there, but yeah…I was really happy with how professional and ‘can-do’ their staff was at making sure everything went smoothly.  A1/Top Notch/Would do again.

As far as the fest goes, I handle the majority of the logistics and then the usual suspects did their thing.  Mitch and Brian handled the gear/stage Dan handled the screen-printing and The Baron oversaw the A389 table while Michelle, Jenn and Jay held it down.  Sunny filmed, Kate, Robbie and Sisk shot pics and the Land Of Kush kept us all very full.

How did you get the non-band vendors?

Most of them found me actually.  This was the first year I ever had outside vendors, as the thought never really crossed my mind before.  Our friends set up tables and put ads in zine, not outsiders.  A389 exists in its own universe.

What did you think of how it all went down?  Any one day better than others, or harder?  Did you get to have a good time, or were you working with people through a lot of it?

It couldn’t have been more perfect.  My only regret is not doing the Jack Skellington 2-man style with Bob Deep6 across the stage during Weekend Nachos.  Other than that it was absolutely perfect and I’m seriously contemplating not doing the fest anymore because this one can’t be topped.  I always say that though…so we’ll see.

The featured photo was taken by Kate Frese.

STREAMING: Dodsferd covers The Misfits

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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Dodsferd will soon release their ninth album The Parasitic Survival of the Human Race, which promises more punk along with the black.

For your streaming pleasure today we have a Misfits cover from the upcoming album (We Are 138), bookended by audio samples from the Greek riots in February 2012.

Check it out below and learn more about the release at Moribund. The album is due March 18th.

Subtracting Proportions: An Interview with Biblical

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, uncategorized On: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

deciblog - biblical live

I’ve known Nick Sewell, and been aware of his prodigious skill on the bass gee-tar, since the mid-90s. Good Lord! That’s round-and-about 20 real-life years, which is the equivalent of about 2000 musician/band years. In that time, dude has played in some of Toronto’s most notorious metal and hard rockin’ bands, including Tchort, The Illuminati and Drunkula and was one of few to have been signed to the ill-designed-and-fated Century Media imprint, Liquor and Poker Records. He’s also previously dealt with other illustrious labels like Dwell and Black Mark, so my man knows what it’s like to suffer at the hands of music industry incompetence. Sewell’s latest outfit is called Biblical, a quartet embracing a wealth of hard rock history and ramming it right down the sculpted, textured and collective throat of R&B, soul and metal. Their debut full-length, Monsoon Season has just hit the streets and let’s hope the folks at their present label, New Damage Records, can get this to as many ears as possible. I caught up with Nick via email to discuss all things Biblical and, of course, Rob Ford.

Can you give us a bit of band history?
The band started as a casual ‘hang out and play’ situation. I, along with guitar/organ player, Andrew Scott had been touring extensively with Sebastien Grainger’s band, The Mountains for a couple of years and over the summer of 2009 we had finished up our release cycle commitments. Suddenly, for the first time in about 15 years, I found myself without a band. Jay [Anderson, drums], Matt [Mclaren, lead guitar] and I knew each other from about town, but had never played together. They approached me and asked if I would be into just coming down to the space to drink beer and mess around. We hung out and played in the jam space for about six months with no name. Eventually, we started cobbling together riffs and working on formal arrangements, but we still didn’t have a name. Around that time, AMC was airing re-runs of Ghostbusters, like every other day. The name of band comes from the scene where they’re trying to convince the mayor of New York to let them fight Zuul and Bill Murray says, “This city is headed for a disaster of BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS”! I brought the idea in to practice one night and everyone was down, although we had the good sense to drop ‘proportions.’ In May of 2010, we played our first show opening for Danko Jones in Toronto at the Mod Club. Since then, we’ve done some light touring in Western Canada and some festival appearances. We also recorded a 10” EP in 2011.

Any bible-thumpers managed to find you and give you a hard time about your moniker yet?
No one’s given us a hard time yet, but there is a white reggae dude in California that we’ve been mistaken for. When we played the Sled Island Festival in 2011 they were using his photo for our festival bio [and he’s a] big, smiley white dude with dreads.

While I’m not familiar with the other dudes, I’ve known you for a long time and know you’ve been in a shit-ton of bands over the years. What does Biblical offer you personally that previous bands haven’t and how do you feel the band differs from the multitudes of 70s-influenced heavy rock coming out of everywhere these days?
Certainly what I like best about Biblical is the focus on atmosphere. Everything we do as a band about is about cultivating tension and then offering release. Most of our material is decidedly minor in key, so it takes on a darker palette. We don’t really pay attention to what other contemporary bands are doing. I think a big problem with modern music is that people hear a band and then start a band that sounds just like it. We don’t consider ourselves anything other than a rock band. People attach a lot of qualifiers like ‘stoner’ or ‘throw-back’ or ‘proto-metal.’ While there are moments when those genres might apply, the only one that always agrees with our sound is rock, and that’s the way we like it. It allows us the freedom to incorporate ideas from a vast multitude of musical styles and periods.

There seems to be some influence drawn from older rock and roll and R&B on Monsoon Season. Yes? No? Maybe so? How would you say your listening and playing habits have changed over the past handful of years?
We absolutely look to older rock and roll and R&B for both writing and production. Motown and Soul are incredibly instructive for building effective rhythm arrangements for the drums and bass. Fast or slow, loud or heavy, everything we play has to swing. We’re also big fans of early 60s soundtracks and über-producers like David Axelrod. There’s some amazing stuff from that period where you have a weird mix of jazz and orchestral, but then super gnarly guitar tones and harsh, compressed drums in a giant plate reverb tank. Those are the types of things that inspire us and inform the direction of our sound. In terms of listening and playing habits, I would say these days I have a much better appreciation for fundamentals. I grew up a metal kid. And as such, it’s easy to get caught up in the razzle-dazzle of guitar heroics or crazy drumming. But now I find I’m much more aware of the fine line of overplaying. Some of the most effective musical techniques are just the proper deployment of the fundamentals of rhythm and melody. So for Biblical, we try to draw maximum contrast between parts in our songs, whether it’s a big a key change or crushing riff after a mellow passage. What we’ve found is that those types of choices tend to connect with people when they hear it – even if they know nothing about music.

On that topic, what are your thoughts on the preponderance of 70s influenced heavy rock everywhere? What do you think this is a symptom/result of?
I’m not really sure. As I mentioned, I’m not super up on what’s going on in the genre. I kind of steer away from modern music that might have a bearing on the music I write. For contemporary stuff that’s loud and guitar based, I usually gravitate towards garage rock.

Your dad is former Toronto mayor, John Sewell, and is still involved in civic politics and affairs today. Have you and your pops had conversations about the antics of Rob Ford? What was that conversation like? What are your thoughts on the last year or so of His Portliness’ time in office?
My dad and I talk politics non-stop, both local and international. It’s interesting to get his perspective because he’s totally from a different era. My dad was a hippy councillor in the ‘70s who ended serving as mayor from ’78 to ’80. He’s written several books about urban planning, so he has some pretty strong ideas about how cities should be structured and cultivated. We’ve certainly laughed about Rob Ford because he’s such a ridiculous character, but we’ve also had had much longer conversations about his policies and how they affect our city. Without boring people with the ins-and-outs of Toronto politics, the short version is that guy’s policy decisions are completely inconsistent with the mandate he rode to power on and of questionable utility to building a thriving city.

Mayor Rob Ford Stripped of Power As Mayor By Toronto Council.

What’s the title of the album in reference to and how does the cover art apply to theme?
The title Monsoon Season was taken from the song of the same name that appears on the record. It’s an epic jam that we really felt captured all the themes we were trying to explore. We also liked that it had a biblical connotation of the great flood or some other act of God-type weather event. Lyrically, it took on the theme of a weathering storm. The last five years have been a bizarre and difficult time for me personally. There has been a lot of illness in my family resulting in a number of deaths. So, Monsoon Season is a bit of short-hand for those dark times. The cover art was a mix of themes. We used the motifs of staring eyes and hands on our 10”. So, including those in a new design seemed to be a natural fit. I had always had a picture in my head of two giant tidal waves rising up, sort of capturing the band’s loud/soft dynamic. One morning at work I was totally procrastinating and I just spat out the cover design; I guess it was just one of those things. It’s actually rather in vogue these days, but the design sensibility is a clear tribute to the great title designer Saul Bass. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a really big fan of early 60s music, specifically soundtracks. I wanted it to look like an Otto Preminger thriller or something, so I was actively thinking of a graphic style that captured those themes and that era. The palette is a nod to some of the old Blue Note Records cover designs of the same era.

As I understand it, much of Monsoon Season found its form during live shows and on tour. How would you say the songs morphed over the course of those live runs? How different are they from what they were like when they were first written? How long did it take to get these songs together and written?
About half of Monsoon Season was hammered out through playing live. The other half was actually written in a rather experimental fashion as we tracked, which was a nice contrast. It’s been amazing to now go back and develop the live arrangements for those songs. We have a habit of extending our material when we play it live and it’s been really cool to see how those songs adapt to the stage. A couple of the tunes have been in the set since about 2011. Around that time, I started working on home demos for some of the others. We started actually tracking at the beginning of the summer 2012. As I mentioned, some of these tunes were totally experimental. And in the case of one – I won’t say which! – it ended up being totally rewritten when we were tracking the guitars. Since we didn’t have a real budget, we worked on it bit-by-bit throughout 2012. By early last year, we had all the tracks locked and started mixing through the spring. By the summer of 2013, we had a mixed and draft mastered version that we used to shop around. We worked on the deal with New Damage over the late summer and had formalized our relationship by September.

deciblog - biblical cover

Tell us about the recording process. Do you feel you captured as much live energy as you could considering much of the woodshopping was done in a live capacity?
Despite the prolonged schedule, I’m very happy with the way in which we worked. As I mentioned, only half of the material was hashed out on stage. While it’s amazing to battle test your songs in that manner, there’s something be said for ‘not doing that.’ Playing stuff live means you only work with the tools of that canvas. I’m not sure we would have stumbled on some of the awesome moments we did had we not adopted an experimental approach to some of the material. I have to be honest— the recording process was pretty ghetto and very piecemeal. Frankly, it’s amazing to me, because this is far and away the best sounding record I’ve ever made. The process began with Jay and I tracking beds for all the tunes. As I mentioned, I had done extensive home demoing of the songs that we didn’t already know so we had a good reference point for tempos, etc. Following those sessions, I took all the drum tracks home and re-did my bass parts. We added the guitars in stages. Andy works at guitar store called Paul’s Boutique. They have a jam space in the basement, so we would track there after the store closed. It was pretty great because we had an amazing array of gear at our disposal. We would gang multiple amps and mics together to get crazy tones. We’d pull a Les Paul for this part or Jazzmaster for that part and just basically do what we thought would sound craziest. I had a great mobile set-up running on [my] laptop that allowed us to capture everything at 24-bit/96k, so we were certainly grabbing everything at maximum fidelity. When it came time for Matt’s parts, we did everything in our practice space (which is hilariously located in a garage behind a house in which no band member actually lives anymore. Somehow, they still let us rent the garage). I have to salute Matt because by the time we got to tracking his parts, it was already December and our modest space doesn’t have much in the way of heating. The vocals were tracked at my home with the kind use of some fantastic Neve gear courtesy of Matt DeMatteo, who mixed the album. After tracking everything, I did a little premix on everything for reference and then passed the stems on to Matt. He worked his magic and took everything into the stratosphere.

How would you characterise Monsoon Season against the self-titled 10” record?
We really just tried to expand on the ideas that we introduced on the 10”. At this point, we have a much better idea of what our band is about and what people want from us. On the 10”, the final song “Oubliette” was and remains a fan favourite. We realized that it summarized everything we were trying to do – it’s that mix of loud/soft/harsh/mellow. So we wondered what would happen if we made a whole record built around those ideas. It’s not to say that Monsoon Season all sounds the same, because the songs have their own character. But I think you can find that all the songs abide by those principles in their way.

Touring Canada can be a pain in the ass. Tell us about your most entertaining pain in the ass experience while touring across Canada?
To be honest, we’ve only done a modest amount of touring up to this point, but we do have a couple of stories. Last year we had the fortune of returning to Sled Island in Calgary – just in time for the flood. We’re Biblical. We bring inclement weather wherever we go. We got in Thursday and played a fantastic show with Torche. We had heard about the flooding, but didn’t think much of it. The next morning we awoke in our hotel—which was a grand, historic old hotel in the heart of the city – with all the power off and the festival cancelled. We walked outside and literally at the end of the block, the water was four feet deep! Needless to say, the whole city was in chaos. The festival was cancelled. We weren’t supposed to fly out until Sunday and here it was Friday morning. It was totally surreal. Walking downtown was a like a zombie movie. Tall buildings, all pitch black and no one on the streets!

What’s next once the record is out and about?
Tour. Just play as much as we can. The record is coming out in Canada, the US, the UK, the EU and Australia. That’s a lot of places we want to visit! That said, we’ve already got a bunch of ideas for the next one!

www.biblicalband.com
www.nicksewell.com

Check out DECIBEL’s special Valentine’s Day gift!

By: mr ed Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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Valentine’s Day is TOMORROW, people. We know you’ve made a reservation for you and your teddy bear in the garage, catered by whatever hasn’t started to reek in the fridge, but what will you guys make small talk about before you take things to the bedroom? As always, Decibel has the answer.
Subscribe to the world’s premier extreme music magazine by 3 p.m. on Friday and you’ll receive a special downloadable, foldout Decibel Valentine’s Day card designed by our own Bruno Guerreiro (see above) and personally emailed to you by editor-in-chief Albert Mudrian. It’s not too late to make this stupid holiday a lot more metal. Act accordingly.

Decibrity Playlist: Junius (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, February 13th, 2014

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A few weeks ago, we premiered a track from Junius’s excellent new EP, Days of the Fallen Sun. This year will not only see the release of new tunes from the quartet (in just a few days, no less), but it also marks a celebratory occasion that typically calls for diamond jewelry. Our budget here at the Deciblog isn’t quite that extravagant, so instead we thought we’d let the band take over our Thursday mornings for the next two weeks. For this morning’s installment, frontman/guitarist Joseph E. Martinez and bassist Joel Munguia compiled the following eight records that according to them share one thing in common according to them: “We thought since this year marks our tenth anniversary, we would take a look back at music we were all listening to when we started Junius in 2004.”

Once you’ve scoured the tunes below, be sure to pre-order a copy of the band’s new EP here.

Joseph E. Martinez:

The Cure–Disintegration (1989)
We were all listening to this album heavily while working on our first EP [2004's Forcing Out the Silence]. It was our atmospheric template for most of the early Junius songs. You can definitely hear it in “Hiding Knives”. The song “Disintegration” hits really hard for me.

Year Of The Rabbit–Year Of The Rabbit (2003)
I’m a massive Failure fan and I was really into ON (Ken Andrews’ solo project), so when I heard he teamed up with members of Shiner and National Skyline, I was stoked. I was able to see them twice, the second time they opened for Thursday and they opened with “Plainsong” by The Cure. It was perfect. My favorite track is “Hunted”.

Thomas Newman–Road To Perdition OST (2002)
The movie was fantastic, but the soundtrack blew me away. I would keep the DVD’s menu screen on all night so I could listen to the piano riff from the track “Road to Chicago”… that melody just hangs between two richly dark and beautiful places.

Placebo–Sleeping With Ghosts (2003)
In 2003/2004, if you saw me riding the T from Stony Brook stop to Downtown Crossing, there is a 93% chance I was listening to this album. Black Market Music was such a great album that I didn’t think they could come close, but I was wrong. All tracks are killer.

Joel Munguia:

Neurosis–A Sun That Never Sets (2001)
This album did and will always give me chills when listening. I had never heard “metal” like this before. The textures of it are unreal. Once you start the album, it feels wrong not to finish the entire thing. The accompanying DVD is a real treat too.

Helmet–Aftertaste (1997)
This was the first Helmet album I ever heard and I loved it right from the start. Heavy punk verses with huge washy Deftones-esque choruses. I’m sold. I can accurately air drum to this entire album. Definitely influenced how I play.

Failure–Fantastic Planet (1996)
This is an influential album for all of us in Junius. An unconventional experimental pop/prog album with 17 tracks? Badass. I admire Ken Andrews as a songwriter, lyricist, and musician. And Greg and Kellii are smart and innovative players as well.

Pelican–Australasia (2003)
The way these four dudes play off each other is truly something special. The mountains that they build on this album are awe-inspiring. Some of the most badass riffage ever documented. Now after playing shows together a few times I can say they are some genuine dudes as well.

Do your best Bolt Thrower, win a limited Bolt Thrower LP

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: contest, featured, gnarly one-offs On: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

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Our friends at Century Media records recently unveiled something incredibly cool: a limited 500-run vinyl pressing of Bolt Thrower’s War Master. Here’s how they describe it:

Pressed in a double gatefold format, this special War Master reissue features three sides of “blood-drenched” hymns on red/silver splattered white wax with side 4 being an exclusive etching. The packaging also includes: (1) an 8-page booklet, (2) a collectible 24×36 fold-out poster, and (3) 2 printed LP jackets.

Check out the picture above: pretty sweet, no?

The War Master project is one of several reissues product manager Daniel Dismal is handling. “When I got the news that I would be able to reissue some of the classic Earache albums that I remember buying on tape in high school I was ecstatic,” Dismal says. “The first offering was the Carcass Reek Of Purefaction bodybag edition that we dropped on Black Friday. The response to the packaging and thought put into it was amazing. With the Bolt Thrower reissue we put the same amount of thought into everything. We really hope people are just as stoked with this as with Carcass. These extended reissues will keep coming, as you can see with the Godflesh self-titled reissue, and I hope people keep coming back for more.”

Decibel is teaming with Century Media to give away one of these beautiful War Master LPs. Here’s what you need to do. Make sure your email address is valid. Write the first verse of a fictional Bolt Thrower song in the comment section. Include a song title. We’ll pick a winner based on authenticity and creative wordplay and they will get this record. Bonus points if you post a YouTube video with actual licks that put the lyrics into context. So, turn on the History Channel and get writing. A winner will be selected on Wednesday, February 19. These won’t be reprinted so write fast or receive instant gratification via the link above.

Sucker For Punishment: Children on Flame (With Rock ‘n’ Roll)

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

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It’s another fairly light week this week – I doubt many Decibel readers will be salivating over the reissue of Def Leppard’s sorry 1996 album Slang – but most interestingly, there’s a good amount of music I actually like. Is it because I’m still a good six weeks away from my annual spring burnout? The fact that I’ve finally shaken the cobwebs from a draining week seeing Carcass and Obituary play a cruise ship? That I’ve been listening to a ridiculous amount of Freedom Call lately? Or maybe it’s because these brutal -20 degree days up here in Canada have been refreshingly sunny. Either way, I must’ve been in a good mood, because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of these records, save for that damned Van Canto atrocity. Go figure. Three albums especially stand out, so please, give them a listen, and better yet, buy them.

Mantar, Death By Burning (Svart): There’s not much to this German duo, as they play simple sludge jams atop rock ‘n’ roll grooves and the odd blastbeat-driven passage, but much like how the Melvins and High on Fire immediately draw listeners with that impeccable combination of primal intensity and wicked catchiness, this debut grabs you and doesn’t let go. While other like-minded bands would be too preoccupied with conveying that towering sense of power sludge demands, Mantar’s willingness to let the groove carry the song as much as the riff is a big reason why this record immediately sets itself apart from the rest. It’s formidable – just listen to closing track “March of the Crows” – but more than anything it’s fun, a welcome blast of adrenaline for a style that often forgets to have fun. Jeff Treppel premiered the video for “White Nights” on Monday. Check it out if you haven’t already.

Stilla, Ensamhetens Andar (Nordvis): Led by De Arma’s Andreas Petterson and backed up by three members of Bergraven, Stilla’s music centers on the more frigid aspect of black metal, drawing heavy inspiration from the Scandinavian environment. But while the traditional characteristics of black metal are easily identifiable on this second album, there’s a lot more going on, much more interesting little idiosyncrasies that make it stand out. A subtle post-rock element creeps in at times, while graceful progressive melodies, not unlike Opeth, wriggle their way into the songs, bringing just enough warmth to melt the ice a little. It’s not every day you hear a band put a unique twist on black metal orthodoxy anymore, but Stilla has done just that, creating something clever and creative yet completely true to the genre’s tenets.

Woods of Desolation, As the Stars (Northern Silence): For those who feel the “metalgaze” trend has flown too far outside the metal spectrum as of late, this latest album by the Australian project will satisfy immensely. Striking a much more even balance between extremity and pastoralism than Deafheaven’s bold yet frustrating Sunbather, and at 34 minutes much more economically written, it sticks to the formula set by Alcest’s Le Secret, and pulls it off immaculately. Guitarist and visionary D employs the odd reference to Mogwai here and there, utilizes crunching riffs sporadically, but for the most part this record is all about unearthing beauty within the black metal milieu. There are those who think black metal can only reflect ugliness and spew Satanic rhetoric, and while that’s totally valid, to hear skilled musicians turn that idea upside down and shed a little light and grace on an otherwise harsh sound can be just as rewarding. Simple pleasures on this album, but pleasures nonetheless.

Also out this week:

Drawers, Drawers (Kaotoxin): The French band is clearly following the lead of the Melvins, Torche, and early Baroness, but that’s perfectly okay. What better bands to emulate these days? And besides, this collection of songs is surprisingly strong, a cool contrast between sumptuous, hooky riffs and charismatic harsh vocals. Jonathan Horseley premiered this album last month, and I highly recommend you check it out.

Exhumation, Hymn to Your God (Dunkelheit): Workmanlike death metal from Indonesia, plenty punishing yet always smart enough to avoid overwhelming the melodies. If only it left a more lasting impression; death metal is so saturated with sound-alikes that it’s impossible to recommend anything that’s not extraordinary.

Helms Alee, Sleepwalking Sailors (Sargent House): The lovable Seattle trio is back with its third album, and while the band’s throttling blend of noise and sludge is as strong as ever. Once again, though, it’s the more dynamic moments that stand out most, especially those that see guitarist Ben Verellen and bassist Dana James share lead vocals, as on the instant highlights “New West” and “Tumescence”. It’s a tactic that works so well for them that the fact that doesn’t happen more on this album is slightly frustrating. Stream and purchase it via Bandcamp.

Solstice, Death’s Crown Is Victory (Into The Void): Founding guitarist Rick Walker has resurrected Solstice with a new lineup, and the UK doom band’s first recorded work in 13 years sees them sounding in full stride. True to form, this is a decidedly, overtly English take on doom, less preoccupied with the bluesy swing of Sabbath, focusing more on a blend of formality and pastorality, hammered home by Walker’s stately riffs and Paul Kearns’ staid singing. Billed as an EP, this 26-minute collection is nevertheless a welcome return by a still-vital band.

Towers, II (Eolian): The latest album by the Portland bass-and-drums weirdos is typically impossible to pin down, a highly unique amalgam of metal, noise, industrial, no wave, and krautrock that, much like Voivod, sounds like aliens trying to replicate human music, not quite succeeding, yet sounds completely unique and engrossing.

The Unguided, Fragile Immortality (Napalm): A mess of melodic death metal, trance synth melodies, pandering active rock, and outlandish power metal singing, this new band throws everything at listeners, repelling them instead of drawing them in. And last time I checked, there are no power ballads in melodic death metal. More smarmy than charming, this is one to avoid.

Van Canto, Dawn Of The Brave (Napalm): The stupidest band in a very stupid genre is back with another album of a cappella power metal tunes. As usual, the only tracks of perverse interest are the covers, and this time around the sextet murders “The Final Countdown”, “Holding Out For a Hero”, and most heinously, “Paranoid”. Of course, it is horrible. Doon doon doon, muh-muh-muh-muh, muh-muh-muh-muh.

Not metal, but worth hearing:

Eric Church, The Outsiders (EMI): Male country acts have always been so repellent to yours truly, which makes the fact that I absolutely love Eric Church’s new album all the more surprising. He’s taken his “rebel country” shtick to an honest and surprisingly daring level on The Outsiders, an undercurrent of hard rock and, yes, even metal running through it, adding much-needed grit and bombast to his carefully honed, accessible songwriting. Toss in the craziest heavy rock/outlaw country/spoken word/prog epic you’ll ever hear in “Devil Devil (Prelude: Princess of Darkness)” alongside its brooding title track and the badass “That’s Damn Rock & Roll”, and you’ve got a genuinely likeable country singer creating a clever, creative, and slickly subversive hybrid that can appeal to hard rock fans and the Wal-Mart country crowd at the same time.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

International Noise Conference: The Movie

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews, videos On: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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Tickets for the Miami International Film Festival sure-to-be cacophonous premiere of the documentary International Noise Conference 2013 go on sale this Friday, so it seemed like as good a time as any to check in with director Ronnie Rivera…

How did the idea for the doc come about?

I have been photographing the noise community in Miami for a few years. It was a natural progression to make a short film about it. Tatiana Hernandez, who was familiar with my work, commissioned me to make a video on the International Noise Conference for the Knight Foundation.

How did you approach giving narrative form to such chaotic sounds?

I wanted the narrative to be shaped by the conference itself which in one is run with precision. Acts at the conference play no more than fifteen minutes; the next act starts immediately after the previous act. In another way it is unstructured — anything can happen. There is a visual arch in the film that I feel captures the essence of the conference. I have seen a man dressed as the Pope pee into cups and drink them on stage while screaming, demonstrations of self-mutilation, bizarre rituals involving organ meat and feathers. Then there are acts that are more musical such as doom metal bands, surf rock, experimental and electronic acts.

International Noise Conference 2013 (TEASER) from bleedingpalm on Vimeo.

Was getting a solid recording of the performances difficult?